Fragments of Light
Light stalking shadow. Spring chasing winter. Fragments of Light explores cycles, how light and shadow affect nature, people. Begin the journey and chase the changing months in the moon poems. Linger within them as language wraps around allusion. Discover the various names for each full moon.
Follow as each morning dawns with hope and promise; reflect as night descends and “shadows stretch/ hoary fingers” (“Cold Moon”). Pursue the ambiguous, intangible feelings that are as difficult to grasp as shifting light.
Move with each season’s shadow and light. Each requires the other. Adversity attempts to cover light with its darkness. But, though the moon waxes and wanes, fragments of light are never extinguished. Continue to reach for that light throughout the weeks and months ahead – homing towards journey’s end.
Praise for Fragments of Light
It’s true that KB Ballentine is an admirably precise descriptive poet, loyal to the conditions of the natural world: “Leaves crunch underfoot/as I trek to the lake. Brief barks/from the other side, then silence.” But it’s a limited truth. Her imagination—inhering in verbs and nouns where it does its best work—invites nature “indoors,” into her subjective life: “The falcon’s body arced by whorls /of wind”; “summers were best, daylight yawned early, /stayed awake late “; and (among my favorites) “in the woods my boots bruise Johnny / jump-ups and forget-me-nots.”
In the first case, “whorls” renders the invisible visible; in the second, personification animates, with friendly wit, a child’s delight in the lengthening days of summer; the third marshals even more subtle techniques: diction both literal and figurative, a provocative enjambment, and the power of the accurately named. Indeed, it’s the names of those flowers that suggest their resistance, or protest, against the bruising boots.
So, enjoy being “seduced by the light” of Ballentine’s keen observations, but also read these poems alert to their osmosis of the world into the self: “Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe,” she instructs. With understated grace, that’s what KB Ballentine’s poems do.
— Steven Cramer
Goodbye to the Orchard
KB Ballentine’s poems display a painter’s sense of the ever-shifting,never-the-same light as it reveals, caresses, sometimes stuns. Light depicts both the outer natural world as well as the inner life of observer/speaker of these poems and exposes painful experiences as in the lines: “I’ve buried a sister, a friend./ When was the family string cut—/who brought the knife?” And not to be missed are the seasons of the moon, surely some of the best poems in Fragments of Light.
— Jeff Daniel Marion
Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001
KB Ballentine sheds new light on old light. Her words of wisdom make your spirit come alive and travel the back roads of her mind when you encounter the seasons of her genius in Fragments of Light.
— Margaret Britton Vaughn
Poet Laureate of Tennessee